Limitations improve creativity: we think up solutions we would never have thought of in a lab.
Hendrick Avercamp’s ‘Ice Scene’ (c. 1610).
While today we sweat, early modern Europeans froze. Furs to the rescue.
Out of all these ideas, will one rise to the top?
We don't know much about the origins of most human achievements – scientific and otherwise. Like evolution, does progress occur as random insights are selected for or against?
Increasing degree requirements for jobseekers doesn’t necessairly lead to an inventive employees.
A lack of "breakthrough" moments in innovation may be caused by the increase of specialised workforces.
It will be quick and it will be hot.
1967 promotional image for the Amana Radarange
It's been five decades of microwave popcorn and piping hot leftovers in home kitchens. A serendipitous discovery helped engineers harness radar to create this now ubiquitous timesaving appliance.
A New York Times article from 1910 describes founding of Mound Bayou, a town founded on the wealth of a steamboat patent.
American slaves couldn't hold property – including patents on their own inventions. But that didn't stop black Americans from innovating since the beginning of the country's history.
Channel check: one, two.
Without Alan Blumlein's genius, most things would sound altogether different today.
Pie in the sky?
Chase Elliot Clarke
The race to bring the jetpack to market exemplifies some of the highs and lows of sci-fi inspired innovation.
It’s okay in science fiction but not in real life: A robot (Robin Williams, left) who dreams of becoming human in the movie Bicentennial Man.
Science fiction can be good at predictiong soem of the technologies of tomorrow. But designers take note: not all those ideas are welcome.
The Large Hadron Collider is playing a key role in enabling the collection of big data.
Big data is about processing large amounts of data. It is often associated with multiplicities of data. But the ability to generate data outpaces the ability to store it.
Bubbles can be worth a lot of money.
The bubbles generated by Laureate Professor Graeme Jameson have been worth over $36 billion to the Australian economy. He has just received the 2015 Prime Minister's Prize for Innovation.
There is beauty in mathematical ideas and proofs.
Poetry is at the heart of technology. Did not Pythagoras find the connections between beautiful music and mathematics?
Louis Le Prince’s 1888 frames of Leeds Bridge.
“Who came first” may be a good game, but it doesn't lead to any clear answers.
Started with high democratic ideals, how does the US Patent Office work with today’s version of democracy?
Founded in 1790, the Patent Office aimed to put innovation and entrepreneurship within reach of every citizen. Now, 225 years later, protesters say an out-of-touch system is doing more the opposite.
Watch out for trolls squatting on patents.
Nobody loves patent trolls. But new legislation in Congress aimed at the trolls isn't necessary, since the effects of recent patent reforms are only starting to be felt.
LCD screens are everywhere - even in art galleries.
What do pencillin, polythene and Mexican yam have in common?
With one invention James Watt blasted the UK 60 years into the future.
James Eckford Lauder, 1855
Issues of energy and climate will be solved by engineering, not climate science.
Now that’s inventive! Spotted at Toowoomba’s Carnival of Flowers.
What's behind the fall in the figures for patent applications in Australia? Is it just a lack of innovation or is something else to blame?
Some of the earliest applications of photography came in the fields of archaeology and botany. Pictured is a photograph from botanist Anna Atkins’ Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843).
Because a photograph came from a machine – not a human hand – many were not entirely sure if it could be called art.
If you’re in favor of copyright extensions – and aren’t a corporation holding the rights or a descendent of the original author – you probably need some sense knocked into you.
In 1998, if Congress hadn’t extended copyrights by 20 years, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind would all be in the public domain…